To deliver whole-person care, it takes a range of organizations working together across the continuum to meet each person’s unique care needs. That’s why we’re partnering with community care organizations across settings to empower care anywhere and everywhere people need it. The WellSky Foundation is proud to partner with local, regional, national, and international organizations boldly addressing the top socioeconomic challenges to lasting wellness.
The WellSky Foundation’s inaugural recipient, Midland Care Connection is an integrated care provider with an over 40-year history of delivering hope, comfort, and support to seniors. Specializing in post-acute care, Midland Care delivers a range of services across the continuum — including hospice, home health, private duty, palliative care, adult day care, PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly), Meals on Wheels, and grief counseling services.
Through a $50,000 donation from the WellSky Foundation, Midland Care is renovating rooms at their inpatient hospice facility, the Midland Care Hospice House to ensure comfortable end-of-life care for people in the communities they serve. When Midland’s hospice house first opened nearly 20 years ago, it was the first inpatient hospice facility in the state of Kansas. Today, the facility has served over 6,100 patients and their families. The Midland Care Hospice House facility provides accessible, comfortable end-of-life care to patients who might otherwise experience a traumatic death in a hospital. Together, Midland Care Connection and the WellSky Foundation are creating a real and lasting impact for people and families when they need care most.
“With this generous gift from the WellSky Foundation, we are touching more lives. Our partnership will create a real, lasting impact in our community. At Midland Care, we respond to our community’s most challenging care needs by offering a continuum of services that meet individual needs with innovative solutions and ensure that people are met with hope, comfort, and support.”
“This gift allows us to provide enhancements to the hospice house and ensure grace and dignity for our loved ones and their families.”
— Zach Ahrens, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Midland Care Connection
In 2019, the WellSky Foundation awarded the Hephzibah Children’s Association $50,000 at WellSky’s annual conference, CareForum. The Hephzibah Children’s Association is a nonprofit an organization that helps children thrive and families flourish through innovative, community-based programs and services in the Chicago area.
Hephzibah will use the WellSky Foundation’s donation to support its residential programs at Hephzibah Home, which provides short- and long-term group housing to children ages 3 to 11 who have been removed from their homes due to extreme abuse and neglect.
Hephzibah’s residential programs are internationally recognized for ensuring successful outcomes for children who have faced severe abuse and neglect, disrupted adoptions, or challenges in foster care. Since the Hephzibah Home’s founding in 1992, the residence has provided safe, stable, and supportive housing for more than 1,000 children.
“We’re proud to partner with the WellSky Foundation to support Hephzibah Home and our therapeutic, academic, and enrichment programs that help children heal from trauma,” said Merry Beth Sheets, executive director of Hephzibah Children’s Association. “This generous gift will bring recovery, comfort, and stability to children who deserve every opportunity to grow and succeed.”
“This generous gift will bring recovery, comfort, and stability to children who deserve every opportunity to grow and succeed.”
— Merry Beth Sheets, Executive Director of Hephzibah Children’s Association
The WellSky Foundation’s first 2020 recipient is Mobile Loaves & Fishes (MLF), a social outreach organization based in Austin, Texas that has earned national recognition for its innovative programs that restore dignity to people facing homelessness. MLF was gifted $50,000 to support their ongoing initiative — Community First! Village – that builds community and delivers permanent housing to people experiencing homelessness.
MLF’s Community First! Village is a 51-acre master-planned community that provides affordable, permanent housing and a supportive community for people coming out of homelessness. Since 2015, Community First! Village has uplifted more than 200 people off the streets and into stable housing.
The neighborhood currently includes over 200 microhomes and RVs, with an additional 300 homes under development, and offers its residents a range of amenities, such as an onsite medical clinic, laundry and restroom facilities, wellness and respite center, and community gardens. MLF takes a community-based approach to delivering housing and supportive services that address the individual needs of people experiencing homelessness.
“Building empowered, supportive communities is vital to our mission of lifting our neighbors out of chronic homelessness. We firmly believe that providing housing alone won’t solve homelessness, but building communities will,” said Alan Graham, founder and CEO of Mobile Loaves & Fishes. “Partnering with the WellSky Foundation means we can continue growing the programs we provide, strengthening our relationships with Community First! Village neighbors and helping more of our friends experiencing homelessness get the care, compassion, and community support they need to heal.”
“Partnering with the WellSky Foundation means we can continue growing the programs we provide… helping more [people] get the care, compassion, and community support they need to heal.”
— Alan Graham, Founder & Chief Executive Officer of Mobile Loaves & Fishes
The WellSky Foundation gifted $10,000 to Uplift Organization, Inc. — a Kansas-City-based nonprofit delivering care and compassion to people experiencing homelessness.
Uplift will use the donation to provide the people they serve with necessities, including meals, clothing, toiletries, bug spray, handwarmers, undergarments, sleeping bags, and more.
Uplift was founded in 1990 as a volunteer-run outreach program addressing homelessness. Today, the organization continues its commitment to serving its local community through volunteer efforts and donations from its neighbors.
“This generous gift from the WellSky Foundation will provide essential items to people experiencing homelessness in Kansas City and support our volunteers as they bring care and compassion directly to people in need.”
— Dan Schipfer, President and Volunteer, Uplift Organization, Inc.
The WellSky Foundation contributed $50,000 to the Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI), the first nonprofit organization created by Black women to help protect and advance the health and wellness of Black women and girls. Through this donation, the WellSky Foundation is supporting Black women’s right to live happy, healthy, and long lives.
Every day, Black cis- and transgender women and girls face significant health inequities on the basis of their race and gender identity. Founded in 1983, the Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI) leads initiatives to address the range of systemic inequities affecting Black women in the U.S. healthcare system.
BWHI focuses on key issues impacting Black women’s health — including breast and cervical cancers, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, intimate partner violence and sexual assault, maternal health, and reproductive health. BWHI is a catalyst for change through their range of programs, evidence-based strategies, and advocacy efforts on health policies.
“The movement for Black women’s health equity is both longstanding and ongoing. We’ve come a long way, but there’s still so much more we need to do together. We’re excited to collaborate with the WellSky Foundation as we work to achieve our vision of making optimal health a reality for more Black women and girls.”
— Linda Goler Blount, MPH, President and CEO of the Black Women’s Health Imperative
In 2020, the WellSky Foundation donated $50,000 to Meals on Wheels America, a national leadership organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs across the U.S. that are dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger. This donation establishes a new joint research project and partnership between the two organizations.
Through this donation, Meals on Wheels America will collaborate with the WellSky Foundation to conduct a pilot research project designed to assist healthcare organizations in supporting older adults, particularly those transitioning from acute care settings and those facing multiple chronic health conditions.
This research project will explore how partnerships between healthcare organizations and local Meals on Wheels programs can improve senior health outcomes. This new effort will expand upon earlier efforts by Meals on Wheels America to develop and scale a technology-based process for reporting and addressing changes in the physical or mental condition of people who receive home-delivered meals.
Meals on Wheels America and the WellSky Foundation are aligned in their efforts to better understand and address key social determinants of health (SDoH) — including food insecurity and social isolation — to support the overall wellbeing of people in need, particularly older adults. This latest collaboration reflects the WellSky Foundation’s ongoing commitment to helping more seniors safely remain in their homes, regardless of their individual circumstances.
“Meals on Wheels programs provide the nutritious food, vital services, and critical community connections that enable seniors to live safely and independently in their own homes. The insights we hope to gain by partnering with the WellSky Foundation in this pilot project will help us to identify additional opportunities to facilitate senior wellness during this [COVID-19] public health emergency and beyond.”
— Ellie Hollander, President and CEO of Meals on Wheels America
In December 2020, the WellSky Foundation announced its $50,000 gift to Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS), a leading national organization providing compassionate care and survivor support services for people and families grieving the death of military loved ones.
Founded in 1994, TAPS is a veterans service organization delivering a range of national and global support initiatives — including youth programs, survivor seminars for adults, peer mentorship, casework and benefits assistance, and counseling resources.
The 2020 holiday season amid the COVID-19 pandemic has shown us that many people are experiencing new levels of isolation, and grief support is increasingly important for people facing loss. With support from the WellSky Foundation, TAPS will enhance its ability to provide military families access to its 24/7 national peer support network and connections to grief resources, at no cost to surviving families.
In addition to its many programs, TAPS also offers helpful tools for people and families outside of the military and veteran community who are facing loss amid the holiday season. Notably, the nonprofit has published a range of informative articles addressing grief — including a step-by-step guide on making a coping plan for the holidays, written by Carroll. This is one of many ways TAPS is addressing loneliness for its community. Additional support resources related to grief and COVID-19 are available at TAPS.org/covid/together.
“For families with an empty chair at the table, a loved one’s absence can become all the more apparent. This season, COVID-19 is magnifying that loneliness. That’s why we’re especially grateful to partner with the WellSky Foundation as we provide care and compassion to the people we serve.”
— Bonnie Carroll, President and Founder of TAPS
The WellSky Foundation has gifted $50,000 to Second Wind Dreams®, a nonprofit organization recognized worldwide for its Virtual Dementia Tour® (VDT®) sensitivity training program. Founded in 1997, the Atlanta-based organization is recognized as the first in the nation to focus on enhancing the quality of life for elders through the fulfillment of dreams.
Second Wind Dreams will use the funding to provide educational scholarships and training to caregivers in underserved elder care communities. These communities will have the opportunity to experience the VDT and the Dementia Aware Competency Evaluation (DACE®). VDT is an evidence-based program that allows caregivers to step directly into the viewpoint of their patients by temporarily altering their physical and sensory abilities, and mimics changes associated with cognitive deterioration.
“It is our mission at Second Wind Dreams to change the perception of aging through our Dreams Program and our experiential dementia training,” said Gwenyth Johnson, CEO of Second Wind Dreams.
Programs like VDT and DACE also contribute to Second Wind Dreams’ mission of providing educational tools to further develop caregivers’ skillsets and create career advancement opportunities. With a growing staffing shortage, having caregivers who are trained and supported is critical to ensuring long-term support of elder care communities.
“The WellSky Foundation has provided a generous opportunity to take this mission and these programs to the medically, geographically, and socioeconomically underserved elder care communities. This partnership will allow us to support the delivery of empathic person-centered care and participate in building age friendly communities.”
— Gwenyth Johnson, CEO of Second Wind Dreams
The WellSky Foundation has gifted $50,000 to Mercy Medical Angels, the nation’s largest provider of charitable medical transport for low-income patients and their caregivers across the country. Mercy Medical Angels ensures patients receive the care they need by removing the transportation barrier both in the air and on the ground.
In 2021, the organization provided more than 27,561 free trips for those seeking necessary treatment. Leveraging the WellSky Foundation’s gift, Mercy Medical Angels can provide additional transportation services to ensure patients are afforded the treatment they need without regard to distance.
“At Mercy Medical Angels, we know that a life-threatening disease or serious health issue can drastically change a person’s life. By working closely with veteran organizations, children’s hospitals, and cancer centers, we remove the expense and stress of expensive travel so patients can focus on healing,” said Gib Godwin, President and CEO of Mercy Medical Angels. “With the support of the WellSky Foundation, our team can continue the essential task of providing free trips to families, seniors, veterans, and children across all 50 states as we answer the call for our assistance.”
“With the support of the WellSky Foundation, our team can continue the essential task of providing free trips to families, seniors, veterans, and children across all 50 states as we answer the call for our assistance.”
— Gib Godwin, President and CEO of Mercy Medical Angels
The WellSky Foundation has partnered with Phoenix Family, an organization that shares the foundation’s strong commitment to building sustainable communities by removing socioeconomic factors barring lasting health and wellness.
With the foundation’s $50,000 donation, Phoenix Family will continue to empower those living in low-income housing to achieve long-term stability and self-sufficiency. Serving more than 5,100 residents living in 34 communities in 13 cities throughout Iowa, Kansas, and Missouri, Phoenix Family leverages three proven programs – HIKE, Families First, and Senior Empowerment – to enable people to stay in their homes with their families as they become fully independent. The organization will use the funding from the WellSky Foundation to continue to implement their dynamic programs and bolster necessary resources in response to the increasing need for their support.
“Our mission at Phoenix Family is to provide the resources children, families, and seniors need to break generational poverty and create a more secure, hopeful future,” stated Kimber Myers Givner, Executive Director of Phoenix Family. “This generous donation from the WellSky Foundation allows us to meet the enhanced need for our onsite programs while supporting our team as they make life-long impacts within our community.”
“This generous donation from the WellSky Foundation allows us to meet the enhanced need for our onsite programs while supporting our team as they make life-long impacts within our community.”
— Kimber Myers Givner, Executive Director of Phoenix Family
The WellSky Foundation has gifted $50,000 to Northland Shepherd’s Center, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the quality of life for adults 60 and older by helping them thrive in the community and remain in their homes.
Northland Shepherd’s Center empowers seniors to maintain their independence by building a sense of community and eliminating isolation through its services, which include classes, food distribution, workshops, and transportation, to older adults who wish to remain in their homes. In 2019, nearly 9.7 million seniors experienced food insecurity across the country. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this number has continued to rise. With the funding from the WellSky Foundation, Northland Shepherd’s Center will launch the Seniors Community Cupboard Pantry to help older adults experiencing food insecurity and provide them with a dignified shopping experience.
“We at Northland Shepherd’s Center are passionate about enabling the seniors we serve to thrive within their homes and communities,” shared Melanie Beard, President of the Board of Trustees of Northland Shepherd’s Center. “Seniors experiencing food insecurity are more likely to suffer from chronic disease, mental health issues, and nutrient deficiency. With the WellSky Foundation’s support, our team can enable older adults with healthy food options – powering true health and wellness.”
The WellSky Foundation has gifted $100,000 to the American Heart Association® STEM Goes Red program. STEM Goes Red was created to leverage American Heart Association’s legacy of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and bring awareness of these fields to young women. With a two-year, $100,000 grant from the WellSky Foundation, STEM Goes Red will assist female college students working to attain STEM-related degrees with scholarships and provide additional mentorship and educational opportunities to young women interested in STEM fields. WellSky will also participate in STEM Goes Red mentoring opportunities with students in Kansas City Public Schools, including most recently connecting 12 women employed in STEM careers at WellSky with aspiring students.
“By providing young women with firsthand experience in STEM fields and access to experts, employers, and mentors, STEM Goes Red is working to make these careers achievable for all,” shared Amanda Nichols, Go Red for Women® Development Director, American Heart Association. “The WellSky Foundation’s generous gift enables us to continue our mentorship opportunities and increase our educational support to young women pursuing STEM-related careers. We’re thrilled to further expand our services across the Kansas City region.”
The WellSky Foundation has gifted $10,000 to Generating Income for Tomorrow (G.I.F.T.), a nonprofit organization committed to powering economic prosperity and wealth for the African American community. With this generous donation from the WellSky Foundation, the organization will provide grants to small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in low-income areas of Kansas City.
Founded in 2020, G.I.F.T. works tirelessly to be a driver of change by bringing financial support, education, and empowerment to entrepreneurs. It’s through their support that more job opportunities for neighborhood residents and attracting the interest of community investors to further boost the area’s economic strength are possible.
“The WellSky Foundation remains committed to building thriving communities that enable the lasting wellness of vulnerable populations,” shared Andrea Morgan, Executive Director of the WellSky Foundation. “Kansas City G.I.F.T.’s efforts to drive the entrepreneurial success of business owners in low-income areas is inspiring and effective, and the WellSky Foundation is proud to be a part of their journey.”
The WellSky Foundation has gifted $50,000 to Joy Meadows. Joy Meadows seeks to improve the wellness of our communities by transforming the foster care system. Joy Meadows’ revolutionary approach was designed to accommodate sibling groups, onsite therapy and other needed resources, home continuity, and more. Joy Meadows also provides critical support to retain experienced foster parents, ensuring the provision of care and services to children in foster care is maintained. With support from the WellSky Foundation, Joy Meadows will continue to answer the rising demand for their services.
“In 2017, we founded Joy Meadows to transform the foster care system in Kansas and bring foster care families the support they need. With our housing, resources, and community support programs, we have transformed our 23-acre property into a safe and welcoming destination for kids in foster care,” shared Justin Oberndorfer, executive director of Joy Meadows. “With funding from the WellSky Foundation, we will continue to expand our support in Johnson, Douglas, Wyandotte, and Leavenworth counties — bringing love, comfort, and healing to children in these communities.”
The WellSky Foundation has partnered with the Child Protection Center (CPC), a nationally accredited child advocacy program that has served victims of child abuse and their families for more than 25 years. The organization’s mission is to build a healthier community by leading the multidisciplinary response to the prevention, identification, and treatment of child abuse and violence.
“Each year, CPC serves approximately 800 children and their families with services targeted to assist these victims of alleged abuse,” shared Lisa Mizell, president and CEO of Child Protection Center. “By providing services that include crisis intervention, education about the legal process, trauma-focused treatment, and referrals for healthcare and social services, our team works tirelessly to deliver lifechanging support for affected children and their families. With the WellSky Foundation’s generous gift of $50,000, we can continue to provide free transportation for CPC children and families to important healthcare appointments, so they can get the care they need.”